President Bola Tinubu has risen in strong defence of the unified foreign exchange rate introduced by his administration saying it was done in the best interest of the nation.
The President said he could have chosen to maintain the hitherto multiple foreign exchange systems and benefit from it, but instead opted to unify the official and parallel market rates to save the country from financial hemorrhage.
Speaking at a civic reception organised in his honour by the Lagos State Government at the Lagos House, Marina on Thursday evening, President Tinubu said he took the decision in the nation’s best interest just like he did with fuel subsidy removal.
According to him: “I could afford to share the benefit by participating in the arbitrage, but God forbid! That’s not why you voted for me.”
The President said it was imperative to take those decisive actions in the early days of his administration.
His words: “We need to take the steps to stop the bleeding of our finances through speedy action on fuel subsidy. We have no choice”.
President Tinubu said as a way of ensuring good use of available resources, the government would “re-engineer the effectiveness of the control and management of our resources in order to meet the obligations to Nigerians by political officeholders”.
The President also canvassed for the support of governors present at the event to work with him in ensuring even development of the country.
“We will work together with an open door policy. We will bring Nigeria from the brink to a resilient economy. I want us to be partners so that we can rescue our land and make it a born-again nation.”
President Tinubu, who was thankful to the Lagos State Government for putting together the reception and to his friends and associates who attended, apologised to some of his friends in the audience who, he said, had been yearning to see him but could not, because of the demands of his office.
“The assignment is greater than the love of the living room. We got to do the job,” he said.
Earlier in his speech, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was overwhelmed with joy, while appreciating guests, expressed gratitude to God for making President Tinubu the leader of Nigeria.
He described him as a competent manager of human and financial resources with the midas touch to turn around the economic fortunes of the country.
Speaking on behalf of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Kwara State Governor and Chairman of the forum, Abdulrahman AbdulRazaq, pledged that state chief executives, regardless of party affiliations, were ready to cooperate and work with the President to ensure the country becomes better and safer for all citizens.
He said: “NGF is excited that both the President and Vice President are alumni of the Governors’ Forum. We are committed to work with a federalist who worked to get things done in a truly federal system. We reiterate our support for a renewed hope agenda regardless of our parties.”
President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who spoke on behalf of members of the National Assembly, thanked President Tinubu for his leadership in smoothening the take-off of the 10th National Assembly.
“You will succeed. Nigerians are proud of you and the National Assembly is here for you 100 percent. We will do whatever is legislatively possible to make you succeed,” Akpabio said.
Immediate-past Minister of Works and Housing and former Governor of Lagos state, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, pleaded with governors and Nigerians that the work of remaking Nigeria should not be left alone to the President, stating that good governance must be replicated across 36 states.
Going down memory lane, leader of Lagos Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC), Pa Tajudeen Olusi, said the emergence of President Tinubu was a pay-back time for the state having contributed significantly to the political evolution of Nigeria since the colonial era of Herbert Macaulay till date.
“Those who have led this country were tutored in Lagos. We are grateful that the President of Nigeria this time finally came from Lagos. We have a man whom we are proud of. He has already started well and Nigerians have seen his first 30 days as remarkable.”
Lagos state Deputy Governor Obafemi Hamzat gave the vote of thanks at the occasion which was attended by serving and former govenors from across party lines in solidarity with the President.
The event was also attended by the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima; wife of the president, Senator Oluremi Tinubu; All Progressives Congress National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu; Senate President, Godswill Akpabio; Speaker of House Representatives, Special Advisers, Hon. Tajudeen Abass, and Chief of Staff to the President, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, among others.